Brian Boru Old Irish Red - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

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Brian Boru Old Irish RedBrian Boru Old Irish Red

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964 Ratings
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Ratings: 964
Reviews: 459
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 171
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
Ireland’s first and last Ard Ri (high king) of the whole Gaelic race, Brian Boru was born in Munster, Ireland around 940. Brian Boru’s mother was killed by Vikings when he was a child. He spent his life uniting the Irish tribes to become the first king of Ireland only to be killed at Clontarf on Good Friday 1014 putting down a rebellion by the king of the province of Leinster. This one’s for him.

40 IBU

(Beer added by: Gueuzedude on 03-14-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 964 | Reviews: 459 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mistofminn
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this treat from iconoklaztor as an extra. Thanks a ton Don!

Pours a murky red brown with a small tan/off-white head. Head has mediocre retention but leaves a little bit of lacing here and there. I really like the color, and the hazyness.

The nose is incredibly malty. I have absolutely no idea to the age of this beer, but the hop presence isn't near as pronounced as I thought it would be. I get the lightest of earthy hops, with a wood-like aroma, and a very strong and dominant sweet malt backbone.

The taste department isn't much different than the nose would lead you to beleive. Extremely malty with the lightest of earthy hops, a wood-like character and I even get a lightly toasted malt presence. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, sorta threw me off a bit, I was expecting something thicker. Very low carbonation leads to a smooth brew (almost flat) going down the hatch. Very nice. Drinkability is great, this is a great session beer.

Overall, a very good representation of a not-so-mainstream style. I'm impressed with this beer, until I remember it's brewed by Three Floyds, at which point I write it off and realize I should have been expecting that to begin with.

Photo of PhxHorn
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark blood red with a slight head, and this after I practically dumped it in the glass. Smell is a very mild aroma of malt. Tastes mildly of malt, caramel, and the taste improves substantially as it warms up, but it's still pretty mild for this style. Carbonation is just about right, and it's pretty drinkable, but unremarkable for a 3F beer.

Photo of kels
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bamadog for this bomber.

Appearance: Pours from the bomber into my pint glass a toasty, rusty red. It is just slightly cloudy, and a super bubbly off-white head reduces from a 3 to 1 finger height quickly. Lots of super sticky, spotty lacing hang off the walls of the glass.

Smell: Somewhat caramelly, slightly toasty - mostly mild and pretty understated. There's a nice, syrupy sweetness to it.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This is a really nice representation of the style. There's the great caramel syrupy sweetness that's met with a nice sticky, roasty maltiness. I really enjoy the the sweetness and the slight smokiness that comes from the roast of the malts. It is a rich taste without being particularly heavy. The hops say hello in the aftertaste and are green-appley, almost bartlett pear-like. They are joined by a light bite from the alcohol, which is surprising given the low ABV. The feel is also nice and moderate, smooth and easy drinking.

Drinkability: Considerably high. This beer isn't for everybody though, as it is so sweet and malty. I enjoy the difference between this and most highly-hopped 3 Flioyds offerings (which I also adore).

Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Plenty of off-white head sits atop a red-copper brew. Lots of lacing as this one goes down.

S: Definitely comes off as a malt bomb with a touch of sweetness and a bit of an earthiness. Some hops make their way in behind the caramel and toffee notes.

T: Sweet, but definitely not too sweet. Typical malt profile for the style, but with a little something extra, likely from the hop presence, which is high for the style, but definitely not too high for the beer.

M: Medium bodied and quite creamy.

D: Very, very drinkable. Irish Red is not by any means my favorite style, but this was one of my favorite beers of Spring '09.

Photo of mjl21
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Josh. 22 ounce bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. No abv or bottling info is given.

A-Pours a hazy mahogany with a one finger white head that has incredible retention; it hardly dissipated throughout the session. There are tons of visible bubbles and some nice lace is left in between sips.

S-Lots of pineapple and lemon come out after cracking open the bottle. When it is poured into the glass the citrus compontents are there but are joined by a hefty dose of caramel malt. As it warms up the citrus gets stronger and some roasted malt becomes apparent.

T-The caramel malt is very noticeable in this one. The citrus is a lot more dominant in the back of the mouth and the aftertaste. I also get a tad bit of roasted malt. Not getting too much bitterness.

M-Falls on the medium spectrum. The massive head gives it a creamy mouthfeel. The oats use also contribute to it having a smooth mouthfeel. It finishes quite dry.

D-Tastes like a bigger beer. If you like a lot of caramel malt, this one is incredibly sessionable. I thought it was a perfect beer to be served as a stand alone pint.

I thought this was a good beer. This is a style that I typically avoid. The citrus really gave this one a nice spark.

Photo of AltBock
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with a bright glossy label that has a cool detailed drawing of the first and last high king of the Gaelic race. This drawing has Brian Boru wearing his full body armor with a horn full of beer in one hand. Below the high king is the 3 Floyd's symbol of a skull wearing a gold crown of brewing instruments. To the far left of the label is where you can find all the mandatory US information and to the right is where you can find a wealth of information. That side has a brief history of Brian Boru, a few tasting notes, and a small map to the brewery. The only piece of information missing from the label is a brewed on date or even a brewed year.

Appearance: I wanted a true Irish glass, but the only thing I had was a Sly Fox O'Riley Stout Imperial pint glass. First off, I have to say that I've never seen such a hazy Irish Red before. It was so hazy that I could only see a brief silhouette of my fingers on the other side of the glass. You gotta love the hazyness! For the color of the beer, it was a red color, but not a solid red color. To me it was more of a dark cranberry orange color than anything else. On top of this red like colored beer was a creamy 1 inch egg shell white head of foam. This creamy head of foam had great retention that left behind a silky off white colored skim of foam and a few small blots of lace around the glass. I know it's going to sound stupid, but the color and the head of foam was good, but hazyness of this beer was the best part of the appearance.

Smell: If you don't do anything to the beer, the aroma will be lightly toasted with a subtle whiff of pineapple, a pinch of tart grapefruit, and a subtle splash of bitter citrus hops. That was good enough to satisfy my sense of smell, but then I woke the beer up by swirling it around. When it was swirled around, the aroma goes on the bitter offensive with a strong whiff of tart grapefruit, pineapple, and citrus hops. Basically, swirling it around enhanced all the citrus aromas found in the first half of the beer. Don't let this beer sit in your glass, give it a whirl.

Taste: If you're ever had an Irish Red before, then you only have the rough draft of this beer. This beer starts off gently with some toasted malts and a tiny speck of toffee. Then out of nowhere, this beer goes citrus and never looks back. These citrus flavors flavors start off strong and then settle down to a nice clean finish. This citrus based taste was filled with pineapple, tart grapefruit, a splash of lemon, a touch of pine, and not overly bitter citrus hops. In other words, it was a great well balanced beer. This beer packed in the citrus flavors, but yet it still had enough room to showcase some toasted flavors.

Mouthfeel: This was a light to medium bodied beer with a right level of carbonation and a full flavored toasted/hoppy aftertaste. This aftertaste was almost as complex as the initial taste. The aftertaste was slightly dry with toasted malts, a touch of grapefruit, a pinch of pineapple, and a nice mild hoppy taste of bitter citrus hops. This aftertaste doesn't last long, but long enough to enjoy it.

Drinkability: The two things that hurt this beer is the availability and the price. Maybe not the price at the right location, but certainly the availability. It's one of those beers that you have to know somebody that knows somebody that know someone that lives in the area of 3 Floyds distribution. Other than that, this was by far the best Irish Red that I've ever had.

Photo of brdc
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large capped bottle, poured into a tulip.

Dark amber, luscious off white head with great retention and lacing.
Aroma is of an improved irish red ale; caramel maltiness, earthy and piney hoppiness; grapefruits, breadiness.
Medium bodied, it improves as it warms. A strong malty backbone, caramel and bread, opens its way to a nice hoppy bite that adds to the usual irish red flavors. Citric and fruity notes round it up; a major improvement over the usual boring red ale; another great offering from the best brewery ever (IMHO).

Photo of kegger22
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to admit, I didn't expect much out of Brian Boru. An Irish hero? Fine, I'll buy it. But an heroic Irish red ale? I suspected I would have trouble swallowing that! I stand corrected...Boru was quite good. Poured a nice, reddish brown. Adequate head, generous when warmer; but quickly fades to just a skin of foam across the top. Aroma and taste reminded me of a light Robert the Bruce (hundreds of Irishmen, green and orange, simultaneously rolling over in their graves). Medium body, not oily. Above average drinkability. No appreciable difference cold or warmed.

Photo of Vonerichs
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber body, white 1/2" head that leaves a touch of lacing. Good color in the body.

The smell is very much toffee and roasted malt with a little bread thrown in there.

The taste is heavy on the sweet malt, toffee and caramel. It has a slight touch of earthy and bittering hops. I picked up a little darjeeling tea flavor. It's a very well rounded taste.

Mouthfeel is buttery with little carbonation. The finish has a tannic quality and is very dry.

This drinks a lot heavier than a 5.9% abv, but does taste good and I enjoyed trying it.

Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a copper red brown color with a 1/2 inch head that settles down slowly to some nice lacing..the smell is malt,caramel toffe that really permeates the nose a slight hop/spice smell in the background..the taste is a toffee and malt explosion to the senses followed by some nice bitter hops that balances out to a smooth irish red the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and quite drinkable kind of tastes like a scoth ale mixed with a strong amber its a style i dont drink to often ...3fff always makes great representations of styles that are delicious ..this one falls into that category for sure..recommended

Photo of bgreg3
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

When I picked up the beer I was excited because I have never had an Irish red ale, but always wanted to. When I poured this I was wondering why they call it red ale because it pours a brownish color, and then it hit me, I shined it up to the light and behold it looked red, I thought it was cool

Smells like strong toffee, caramel roasted barely and some floral hops involved as well, a very enticing smell.

Impressive; toffee hits the toungue followed by some caramel and finishes with a small hop bite that lets the taste barely linger in your mouth but just enough to let you know you just tasted greatness

MF is right in the middle I'd say and the carbonation is almost non-existent, but still makes for a pretty good finish. I's stick with about one of these this beer is not that drinkable to me because it's not that refreshing , but regardless the taste is there.

Photo of stephens101
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An active and bubbly head slowly turns into a thick and fine pure tan froth and leaves a tall, sticky lacing behind. Color is a rusty red. At the nose, citrus hops are about all I can discern. Possibly some tea and caramel malts underneath. Lack of a big profile here does is not necessarily a bad thing, as it's subtly is pleasant. On the palate a good amount of sweetness mixes with some nuanced hops and faint tea notes. An undercurrent of citrus works itself into the equation after a bit. The light to medium body works well here, as it's not fleeting going down, but gives you something to think about, and has just enough weight to keep it from being a full on summer session brew. Apparently, the Irish Red is a hard style to conquer, and it seems nobody has really made a truly great one, but FFF has come the closest as far as I can tell. Then again, it just might be that the style is not quite in favor right now, but this one hits the spot for me either way.

Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up a while ago, but finally got around to drinking it.

A - One finger of dirty white foam with surprisingly excellent retention and a bit of lacing. Brown-red hazed look to the brew, with a bit of a glow to it.

S - Very malt forward, lots of caramel, toffee, a touch of chocolate, but also a hint of tomato and earth. The hops have faded a fair bit since I had this on-tap in early April, but there's still a bit of tropical & floral hoppiness still kicking. It's a little too sweet in general.

T - The taste is a lot of toffee and honeyed bread, with a touch of floral hoppiness and ripe fruit (apple, strawberry). There's a mildly grainy aftertaste that is a little bit unpleasant. I actually like the taste a little bit more than the smell, but not enough to bump it up to a four.

M - Medium bodied, and the carbonation is mild, but it's still a little gritty (much like its namesake I suppose). Finish is pretty dry, with some residual stickiness on the top of the mouth (that sustains the unpleasant aftertaste unfortunately).

D - The low ABV and mild carbonation make it easily drinkable, but I'm just not into the taste all that much. I have no idea how this compares to other Irish Reds, but I'm assuming it isn't all that representative of the style (being a Three Floyds brew). Still, if this was among the better options on-tap somewhere I'd have no problems having a pint.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into pint glass. Smell is fresh piney and hoppy. Taste is mostly caramel.. slight hops and light tomato. I haven't had too many of this style other than the few mainstream macro ones, but this was a pretty decent drinkable beer. Not too out of the ordinary or exciting, but definitely seemed to fit the style well.

Photo of ffejherb
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. bomber into Imperial pint glass on 6/5/09. Thanks to Pudge43 for the trade!

A - Poured a very clear, very effervescent light copper-colored body with amber and reddish highlights and a solid two finger head of beige foam that settled into a half inch of creamy retention and deposited exquisite lace all around the glass.

S - Amarillo hops impart a citrusy hop aroma and uncover notes of pineapple and mango while simultaneously providing a subtle spicy character. Malt is sweet and suggests caramel and toffee. Hop aroma is quite similar to one of my favorite FFF masterpieces...Gumballhead.

T - The sweet and succulent tang of citrus hops works well with the caramel and toffee malt profile of this Irish Red Ale. Slight spicy, peppery notes emerge nonchalantly in the middle. Very subtle alcohol notes creep into the mix, but are barely noticeable and only become apparent after the liquid warmed up a bit.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth, creamy texture and softly carbonated mouthfeel overall. Finish is bittersweet with an exceptional balance of hop bitterness and sweetness.

D - Exceptionally flavorful and easy to drink due to the well-concealed alcohol presence, Brian Boru may very well be the best Irish Red Ale I've ever had. It's another example of FFF pushing the envelope of what can be done with a relatively dull style.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this one as an extra from slater1313, thanks Paul!

A very red/gold liquid, the head and lacing are insane. A beautiful beer.

Scent reminds me of a lighter hopslam, with honey over some mild hops. Lemon tea comes to mind.

Taste is very surprisngly pleasant. I usually don't appreciate what feel like watered down other beers, but this isn't just watered down, it's calculatedly mild. Ah hell, I don't know how to put into words what I'm trying to say, but this is a damn good beer.

Mouth is great with a relatively thick feel over medium carbonation.

Excellent stuff, one you don't hear of too much from FFF.

Photo of CMW
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep red color with tall bright white head. Retention is minimal and little lacing.

S - Piney hops and some caramel malt.

T - Hops take center stage and provide a more pine-like flavor rather than grapefruit. Caramel malt provides a good backbone and it finishes with little bitterness.

M - Fairly thin but carbonation was good.

D - Extremely drinkable. Low abv. and great taste.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 ounce bomber bottle split with psycohops and brothercannon. Appears a murky dark amber color with about two fingers of fluffy creamy ecru foam. Head retention is excellent and it leaves a sticky lace on the inside of my glass with each sip. The nose consists of sweet grains, toffee, citrus hop notes (orange), fragrant and grassy. Tastes of caramelized malts and grains, orange peel, candied lemon, toffee, more caramel. This red ale falls somewhere between medium and full bodied with ample carbonation for the style. This beer has a lot going on across the board considering the relatively low ABV. Great stuff! Check it out if you have the opportunity.

Photo of david131
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A clear, deep redish orange with a nice off-white head that is thin, but has some decent retention.

S- Caramel, toffee, earth, citrus, and pineapple. There is just a bit of that Three Floyds aroma in there too. Not super aromatic, but very appealing.

T- Slightly floral along with the same aspects picked up in the nose. This has all the flavors that are typically associated with peat, but it doesn't have that, which I thoroughly enjoy.

M- Very clean with a decent carbonation level. Slightly dry aftertaste.

D- A fairly hearty beer for the ABV. This is probably my favorite take of the Irish red. Enjoyable and definitely worth a try.

Photo of BMoney575
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 4-27-09

Pours a slightly hazy amber color, with a filmy and thin white head.

Smell is great earthy hops, with a subtle, sweet malt backing. Not overly complex.

Taste is very sweet, with that distinct Three Floyd's quality. The hops aren't as bitter as I had hoped, with a buttery, English style finish.

Mouthfeel is good, thick and right for the style.

Drinkability is very good, very full-flavored for such reasonable abv.

Overall, a good beer, but nothing special.

Photo of Monkeyknife
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a bright, clear red amber color with a thin but creamy beige head.

Aroma of grapefruit and pine hops, the sweetness of white table sugar, and a perfume of light tropical fruit and berries..

Tastes of berries and hops upfront, then revealing a rich caramel maltiness, some spices, and dark bread. Finish has a touch of coffee. A lot going on with this one.

Light-to-medium bodied, oily, and lightly carbonated.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Very drinkable and it really blossomed as it started to warm up.

Photo of yeastsipper
3.23/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer pours a nice copper red. Decent lacing, strong head. Pretty looking, but at the same time nothing extraordinary.

Smell is nice though nothing complex. A lot of floral from the hops, some grapefruit as well. Smells a lot like a pretty good IPA, though the malt balances out the hop profile.

Taste is well, fine, but not much more. Again, the bitter hops and the sweet malt are battling it out. Good balance, but not great flavor IMO. Some really dry woodiness on the back end that lingers for awhile. The first few sips were more interesting; the latter a bit annoying.

To be fair, I am not sure I am a huge fan of the style, which is not the fault of the beer. That being said, overall I am underwhelmed in general, and especially given the price.

Photo of Sean9689
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Red in color and a small amount of white head. Smell is hops/floral/citrus. Taste of hops, citrus, and malt. Mouthfeel is light bodied and fresh/crisp. Easy to drink brew but too many others I prefer over this one.

Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice medium red color. Has a very small white head that drops to leave only the faintest of lacing. Very tea like.

Smell is a very citrusy hoppiness. If I hadn't seen the style already I would think this was an ipa just from the nose.

Taste is definetly hops, but more piney than I thought. Some caramel malt holds this one together.

Mouthfeel was a bit thin. I felt that it needed more of an assurtive malt backbone to keep the balance.

Overall, a solid brew. If you like IPAs but want something lower in alcohol and lighter then this is the beer for you.

Photo of akokandy
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz brown bomber poured into a dimple mug.

A- Dark red with a relatively small head, which quickly fades and leaves very little lacing. Pretty transparent with a good amount of visible carbonation.

S- Carmel is there along with a fruit note and some floral hops. More muted than most FFF brews.

T- Sweet caramel/toffee up front in this beer. Some sips I get subtle notes of red fruit. Finishes with a toast flavor and a little hoppy twang. Less hop flavor than most FFF brews, but extremely well-balanced.

M- Medium body and ample carbonation. Smooth-drinking.

D- Very easy to drink. Average abv and smoothness make this one go down the hatch easily. Nice.

Brian Boru Old Irish Red from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
90 out of 100 based on 964 ratings.